Despite the UK government’s promise to ease restrictions on onshore windfarms, Ukraine has surpassed England in the number of onshore wind turbines installed since the country was occupied by Russian soldiers in February 2022.
While England has only installed two onshore wind turbines generating 1 MW of electricity, Ukraine’s Tyligulska wind power plant has started providing clean electricity to power around 200,000 homes.
Located just 60 miles from the frontline in the southern region of Mykolaiv, the Tyligulska wind power plant features 19 turbines with an installed capacity of 114 MW, making it the first wind power project built in a conflict zone.
The UK government’s failure to end the onshore wind ban is estimated to have cost UK billpayers £800m over the past winter, leaving the country dependent on fossil fuels.
The ban on onshore wind, the cheapest source of electricity, was put in place in 2015 by tightening planning restrictions in the national planning policy framework.
Despite a promise to dismantle the ban, the government has yet to make any changes, and campaigners believe the rebellion of backbench Tory MPs threatens to pile pressure on ministers to make only modest tweaks to the framework, which would continue to hold back the rollout of English windfarms.
The Labour Party has proposed to end the onshore wind ban, while Ukraine is on track to become the largest onshore wind farm in Eastern Europe once the Tyligulska wind farm is complete.
The Labour Party’s plan includes setting up a publicly owned energy company, GB Energy, to produce cheap, clean power in Britain and make the country a “clean energy superpower” by 2030.
The ban on onshore wind, coupled with rising global energy market prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has cost UK households an estimated £180 each, leaving millions of people in fuel poverty for the first time.
In contrast, Ukraine’s Tyligulska wind power plant stands as a symbol of the country’s determination and progress in the face of war and conflict. Ukraine’s largest private energy investor,
DTEK aims to build the largest onshore wind farm in Eastern Europe with the Tyligulska wind farm.
While the UK government claims to have increased the amount of renewable energy capacity connected to the grid by 500% since 2010, the country still relies heavily on fossil fuels.
The failure to end the onshore wind ban has left England lagging behind Ukraine in onshore wind energy production, highlighting the need for a policy change to unlock the potential of the cheapest source of energy available.
As Ukraine fights for its survival, it has built more onshore wind capacity than England, sending a message of resistance against Russian occupation.
If the UK government fails to catch up, it risks falling further behind in the clean energy race, while Ukraine sets an example of resilience and sustainability in times of war.